At the risk of running down a rabbit hole armed with nothing more than an empty brain and boredom, let’s have a look at the mystery door on the set of Blackadder The Third.
That one in the back corner, behind Blackadder.
Where does it lead?
It might help for us to get a better idea of the geography of the Prince’s Palace, which at the time was probably Carlton House, ‘a rambling structure without architectural cohesion’. This may prove true.
All of these screenshots are from the episode Sense & Senility, which is an interesting episode set wise, but we’ll come back to that. I picked this one because I thought that it answered the question of the mystery door.
The main living room, where most of George’s scenes are set, has a door at the front of the stage, on camera right, which leads into George’s bedroom.
In this episode, we don’t see that bedroom, just a darkness behind George as he emerges. Wonder why?
Then there’s that mystery door in the corner we saw above.
And at the back of the set, the double door opens out onto a foyer, which has another door in it that acts as the front door/entrance.
Presumably down in the basement, we have the kitchen. They go up the basement stairs, and pass through the foyer to enter the sitting room.
So we’re still no closer to knowing where that mystery door leads.
As an aside, this episode is interesting for it’s use of many more sets than normal. There’s Mrs Miggin’s coffee shop, which pops up quite a lot througout the series.
As well as the theatre.
And also the dining room, seen only in this episode.
The sheer number of sets might explain the absence of George’s bedroom. It may have been dismantled to make room. I did wonder if they redressed the bedroom set as the dining room, but I don’t think they did.
But it’s the dining room that interests me regards the mystery door.
I thought maybe this is the room that lay beyond it. But it can’t be, for two reasons. First, Baldrick says this.
And this shot, clearly showing the door is blocked by a massive chest, and always is.
So, this door leads nowhere. And is never used in any episode. Was it built into the set for something that was later dropped from the scripts? Or is there another reason for its presence?
I’ve been watching ‘Allo ‘Allo, and wondering if the headquarters set shared some flats with Blackadder The Third. The whole set is rotated, and where the camera would be for Blackadder, there’s a window. The ‘Allo ‘Allo cameras are where the Blackadder fireplace would be.
And there’s even a bloody blocked mystery door in the back right hand corner on this set too.
As well as a door where the bedroom door might be.
None of the dimensions feel the same though, and they aren’t all that similar (the doors are inset on ‘Allo ‘Allo for one) as far as I can tell. Other than the layout and that weird, blocked, mystery door.
So, our mystery door is not a hangover from re-using another set (or at least not from re-using the ‘Allo ‘Allo set).
I don’t think I’m going to resolve this to my own satisfaction. I did also wonder if the Regency sets were re-used for Blackadder Goes Forth. The headquarters there follow a similar layout.
Two doors either side of a wall piece, and a third door at the rear. Here though, it’s that rear door that leads nowhere.
And the whole set is re-dressed and disguised rather well, for the court martial scenes in Corporal Punishment.
But there don’t appear to be any shared flats or set-pieces alas.
So this whole thing has been a complete waste of time sorry, and in trying to answer the question of what’s behind Blackadder’s mystery door, we merely raised another one: what’s behind the German’s mystery door in ‘Allo ‘Allo.
Maybe they’re linked via a time portal.